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Europe March 2020: Market collapses -51.9%, Tesla Model 3 up to 2nd place overall

06/05 update: Now with refined final data for the Top 25 brands and Top 100 models.

01/05 update: Now with Top 55 brands and Top 360 models.

New car sales in Europe-27 markets (EU+EFTA+UK) collapse -51.9% year-on-year in March to just 848.800 units according to figures released by JATO Dynamics, as most countries implemented nationwide lockdowns to stem the spread of the coronavirus. This is the lowest March volume across the continent since at least 1990 when ACEA started reporting. There is a more pronounced drop among the 5 largest European markets (-56%) compared to the other 25 markets (-40%), and with lockdowns extended for the entire month of April in Germany, the UK, France, Italy and Spain, the European April volumes will be much worse. For now, the Q1 2020 tally is down -26.3% to 3.054.703 units.

Kia breaks into the European Top 10 in March.

In March, Italy (-85.4%), France (-72.2%), Spain (-69.3%), Austria (-66.7%), Ireland (-63.1%), Slovenia (-62.4%) and Greece (-60.7%) are the hardest hit, partly because they initiated lockdowns earlier than most. At the other end of the scale, sales in Iceland are estimated to edge up 0.4%, making it the only country in the entire continent to be in positive in March. Finland (-0.9%), Sweden (-8.6%), Hungary (-14.3%) and Cyprus (-16.4%) also resist somewhat, their March result also linked to less drastic COVID-19 measures. In Germany, the UK and France, registrations of PHEV and BEVs continue to grow at double and even triple rates (the latter also in Italy), with overall market shares of 7% in the UK, 9% in Germany and 12% of France.

Mercedes is up to #2 brand in Europe for the third time in 7 months.

This month’s rankings are a less a reflection of sales performance and more of strengths in the two main European markets, the UK (254.684 sales) and Germany (215.119 sales), together accounting for 55% of the total March volume vs. 39% YTD. The VW Group (-43.6%) resists best on the podium, distancing the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance (-59.9%) and the PSA Group (-66.9%). Below, the BMW Group (-39.7%), Hyundai-Kia (-41.8%), Daimler AG (-40.6%) and the Toyota Group (-36.2%) all fare significantly better than the market as does the Geely Group/Volvo (-35.4%) at the tail end of the Top 10. FCA (-74.4%) is hammered by its over-reliance on shutdown Italy while Ford Motor (-60.9%) also falls faster than the market.

Volvo limits its fall to -35.7%.

Over in the brands ranking, Volkswagen (-46.7%) easily keeps the lead in a Top Four 100% German: Mercedes (-41.7%) is up two spots on February to land in 2nd place overall for the third time in the past 7 months, BMW (-40.4%) is up five to score its 2nd European podium finish in the past 4 months at #3 and Audi (-44.1%) up six to #4, its highest European ranking since August 2018. Toyota (-36.4%) remains in an outstanding 5th place above Skoda (-36.7%), while Kia (-33.4%) breaks into the European Top 10 for the first time. (-68.6%), Peugeot (-64.5%) and Renault (-64%) underperform. Below, Ferrari (-3.2%), Porsche (-13.2%), Rolls Royce (-24.5%), Land Rover (-31.6%), Bentley (-31.7%), Lexus (-32.3%), Lamborghini (-33.7%), Volvo (-35.7%), Mini (-37.3%), DS (-43.2%), Seat (-43.7%) and Mitsubishi (-45.5%) manage to contain their losses, but it’s Tesla (-1.1%) at #20, MG (+43.5%) at #30 and Lotus (+8%) that totally ignore the surrounding gloom to post the best holds in the whole market.

Toyota Corolla sales are up 29%.

Over in the models ranking, the VW Golf (-48.8%) easily reclaims the top spot off the Renault Clio (-66.4%) down 4 spots to #5 in March. The Tesla Model 3 (-1.6%) shoots up a whopping 100 spots on February to land at a record 2nd place overall, eclipsing the #3 spot it hit last December. It’s the perfect storm for the Model 3, with the totality of its registration figures still coming from orders sometimes dating back to years ago and the carmaker traditionally bypassing (currently closed) dealership networks to deliver straight from the ship, and therefore unaffected this month. Add to this a traditional end-of-quarter push to keep the stock market happy and you have a striking yet unsurprising performance… The Ford Focus (-50.6%) already scores its 2nd podium finish of the year ahead of the VW Tiguan (-50.5%) while the Mercedes A-Class (-45.9%) is up 14 ranks on last month to #6, its highest since hitting #4 last September. The Skoda Octavia (-39.6%) is at its highest since last September at #7, the Toyota Yaris (-52.3%) secures a 4th Top 10 finish in the past past 7 months at #19 and the Mini Hatch (-33.9%) is up 39 ranks on February to break its European ranking record at #11 (previous best #13 last September). Other great Top 50 performers include the VW T-Cross (+746%), Toyota Corolla (+27.4%), Mercedes CLA (+0.9%), Range Rover Evoque (-1.1%), BMW 3 Series (-3.2%) and Volvo XC40 (-4.9%). The Skoda Kamiq (#55) tops recent launches above the Ford Puma (#59) and Kia Xceed (#73).

Previous month: Europe February 2020: Renault Clio snaps first win since October 2006, Toyota (+11.1%), BMW (+4.1%) shine again in market down -7%, bracing for heavy losses

One year ago: Europe March 2019: Tesla smashes volume record in market down -3.6%

Full March 2020 Top 10 groups, Top 55 brands and Top 360 models below.

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